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xVI

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY.

"

We

preach not

ourselves,

but

Christ Jesus

THE LORD

;

and

ourselves

your

servants

for

Jesus'

sake."

(2 Cor.

iv. 5.)

"

Neither

as

being

LORDS

over God's

heritage

(Ws

xaraxupiov-r

swv

xa7pav),

but

being

ensamples to

the

flock."

(1

Pet.

v.

3.)

The designation

so

familiar

to

their

lips of

" Servants

of

Jesus

Christ," "

Ministers of

Christ,"

was

no

mere

title

of

honour

or symbol

of humility,

(as

it

is

hypocritically

used

by

the

pope, who

in

the

same

breath

styles

himself

Dominus

Ecclesice,

" The Lord of

the

Church," and Servus servorum Dei,

"

The servant

of God's servants

!

")

but

was

designedly employed

as

an

exponent of

the relation

in which

they

stood

both

to the

Lord and to

his

people.

That

was

the

relation,

not

of

masters,

but

of servants.

Inspired

servants

they

doubtless were;

the

messages

they

received

came

immediately

from heaven,

and

these

they "

made known to all

nations,

for

the

obedience of faith."

But the

authority

on which

they

claimed

that

obedience was

not

any personal authority delegated

to

them by

Christ,

and

lodged

in them

as

governors

of

the

church.

It

was

the authority

of

their

divine Master

himself,

to

whom

they

uni-

formly appealed,

and

who

sanctioned

their

appeal by his miraculous

gifts.

They delivered

the

laws

and

ordinances

by

which

the

church

was

to be

regulated;

but

in

doing

so

they

acted

in a

purely minis-

terial

capacity,

not

as legislators,

but

as

agents

of

the

great

Sove-

reign of

the

church.

"

I

have

received of

the

Lord,"

says

Paul,

" that

which

also

I

delivered

unto

you."

"

So

hath the

Lord

or-

dained."

From this point

of view

it

is

easy

to

see

in what

sense

the

apostles

spoke of

acting

"

in

Christ's stead

:

" " Now

then

we

are

ambassa-

dors

for

Christ,

as

though

God

did

beseech

you

by us:

we

pray

you

in

Christ's stead, be

ye reconciled

to

God."

(2 Cor.

v.

20.)

The

cha-

racter

of

an

ambassador precludes

the

idea

of

autocratic

dominion.

In

his

own

person

he

has

no

authority; he

cannot

move

a

step be-

yond his

written

instructions. Such were

the

apostles; and

such

is

every faithful minister of Christ,

with this

difference,

that

instead

of

having his instructions imparted to

him

by immediate revelation,

he

has

them

recorded

in the Word

of

God.

As ambassadors,

the

apostles

speak

of

"

beseeching" and

"praying"

men

in

Christ's stead;

as

inspired writers,

they

announced

his laws;

and

as

appointed

rulers,

they administered them

:

but

never

do

they

speak

of

governing

the

church

in

Christ's

stead, nor

talk

as

if

he had

delegated

to

them

his

authority

over

his

church.

The

idea, indeed,

is

preposterous.

Our

blessed

Lord

declares,

"All

power

is

given unto me

in

heaven and

in

earth;"

and

on

the

ground

of this

authority he

commissions

his apostles to

go

forth

and preach